welcome to "newsline." i'm kayky chi hanada in tokyo. here's some of the stories we are following this hour. republicans overwhelmed democrats in the u.s. midterm elections, winning the majority in the senate and taking control of congress. japan's largest carmaker, toyota, has posted a record high operating profit in the first six months of this business year. and for our series testing
japan's english, we drop by an after-school program near tokyo where kids eat snacks, play and speak only english. results coming in from the u.s. mid-term elections point to new challenges for president barack obama's administration. the republicans will have the majority in the senate. that means they will take control of both chambers of congress. >> tonight they said we can have real change in washington, real change. and that's just what i intend to deliver. >> the republicans entered the race with 45 senate seats. abc news projects they will come out of the election with at least 52. that will give them the majority in the 100-seat chamber. the republicans are to take control of both houses of congress for the first time in eight years. but not all of the races will be settled right away.
in louisiana none of the eight candidates are poised to secure a majority. so the top two will compete in a runoff next month. in the house of representatives, all 435 seats are up for grabs. abc projects that the republicans will expand their majority with at least 242 seats which will be more than they won in the last elections. the democrats are projected to win at least 180 seats. president obama tried to drum up support for democratic candidates ahead of election day. he underlined his economic achievements over the past six years including a decline in the jobless rate. but many voters feel things haven't gotten much better and they have concerns about the future. obama has come under fierce criticism from republicans over his leadership. they say his response to the islamic state and the ebola
outbreak has been inadequate. immigration reform has been a key policy goal for the president. but momentum has stalled amid republican opposition. obama has about two years left to his term. analysts say gains made by the republicans in this election will make it harder for obama to advance his policies. japan's auto giant seems to be enjoying a smooth ride now. ron madison from the business desk joins us now with the details. ron. >> yeah, certainly it does. executives at toyota say they've notched a record operating profit for the first half of the fiscal year. they credit the weaker yen and the boost that's given to overseas sales. now they project their annual sales and profits for the year as a whole will hit record highs. the executives released earnings for the april to september period. they say they brought in about $113 billion in sales, up more than 3% in yen terms from a year earlier. and they say their operating
profit reached $11.8 billion. that was up 7.7%. the executives are seeing brisk sales in overseas markets such as the u.s. and europe. they say the weaker yen pushed up their operating profit by more than $600 million. but they have scaled down their global production plans for the year. they say they'll make about 9 million vehicles. that's 50,000 fewer than they initially planned. they say the lingering impact of the consumption tax hike in april and political uncertainty in thailand are factors. government officials in indonesia say weak exports are taking a toll on the economy. they say growth for the july to september quarter hit a five-year low. officials with the statistics bureau say the economy grew just a little more than 5% from the same period last year. that's about 2% lower than newly elected president joko widodo is aiming for. officials attribute the result to slowdowns in indonesia's main
trading partners. people have benefited from robust economic growth in recent years. and executives at many japanese firms have been investing more in the southeast asian country. but economists say the outlook is becoming gloomy. they say the decision by policymakers at the u.s. federal reserve to end monetarying easing has prompted investors to pull money out of the market and caused the currency to weaken against the dollar. government officials in japan are working on ways to improve a system that promotes green energy. they say some companies that offer to sell the energy are taking advantage of the rules. and that's causing major power companies to limit how much they buy. officials at the industry ministry have presented some countermeasures to a panel of experts. they want to reduce purchase prices for electricity generated by solar panels which are higher than production costs. currently utilities accept a set price when suppliers make an offer. suppliers can make an offer even if they haven't yet acquired
land or facilities to generate the energy. ministry officials want to put a stop to this practice. they say prices should be set only when a supplier signs a contract with a utility or when the supplier actually starts producing energy. the people at the bank of japan surprised investors last week by announcing they'll crank up their stimulus. now central bank governor kuroda has hinted policymakers might go even further if conditions warrant it. kuroda delivered a speech in tokyo. he said policymakers want to ensure japan doesn't slip back into deflation. they're worried the decline in personal spending following the consumption tax hike could cause that to happen. kuroda said the bank will do everything necessary to achieve its goal of 2% inflation. >> translator: in order to overcome the chronic disease of deflation, a patient needs to take the full course of medicine. half-measures will only make the condition worse in the long run.
>> kuroda said wages have gone up about 1% from last year. so the basic trend is that both wages and prices are rising. let's get a check of the markets now. investors are encouraged by recent earnings reports from european companies. the region's major benchmarks are rebounding from two days of losses. we're seeing solid gains of 1% for london and frankfurt. london is up 0.9%. marks & spencer raised its margin outlook. in asia, many markets had a pretty lackluster day. china's shanghai composite suffered profit taking, retreating from its highest level in nearly two years the previous day. the nikkei posted a fresh seven-year high. investors remain pretty upbeat about the boj's additional stimulus measures. moving on to currencies now, the dollar is on the rise against the yen. right now we're seeing it at 114.47. analysts say traders are buying the dollar on news about the u.s. midterm elections. they thought the results would
likely help ease the political gridlock in washington. also we're seeing the greenback higher against the euro. weak services sector data out of germany is putting some pressure on the single currency. okay. that is going to do it for biz tonight. let's check in once again on the maets. japanese coast guard officials have seen a jump in the number of chinese fishing ships in waters south of tokyo.
the crews are suspected of poaching coral in japanese waters. the coast guard is closely monitoring the ships. they've been traveling around the japanese islands in the pacific ocean. officials say they spotted nearly 50 boats last thursday near the ogasawara islands. on monday the number jumped to more than 100. the officials also observed more than 100 ships around the izu islands on both days. the coast guard is telling crews on the chinese vessels to leave the waters. a typhoon is expected to approach the area on thursday. residents of the islands are concerned the ships may enter ports to seek shelter. they are worried crew members may land on the island. coast guard officials say they'll inspect any vessel that approaches and prevent the crew from getting off. members of interpol are adopting a new tool to use against militants with islamic
state. they have agreed to use their beta base on stolen passports to control the fighters' movements. members of the international police agency are meeting in monaco for the annual general assembly. they discussed ways to prevent people who join islamic state from carrying out attacks in their home countries. and they see a need to keep militants from using fake passports to cross international borders. they agreed to use interpol's global database on stolen or lost passports belonging to about 43 million people. >> i would like to use this occasion to demonstrate the importance i attach to an effective and efficient international police cooperation in particular in the area of foreign terrorist fighters. >> participants say more people from asian and western countries are joining islamic state. experts with the medical
charity doctors without borders say the ebola virus is spreading rapidly in sierra leone. they say the country needs ur urgent support. the group also says infections have spread nationwide. experts say the government is short of facilities and personnel and no longer functioning properly. they say up to 85% of foreign calls to a national helpline get no response. and they say the number of orphaned children is rising fast. the experts say the picture is more positive in neighboring liberia. they say the number of patients has been declining at medical facilities in the capital, monrovia. but they're calling on the international community to do more to help the affected countries including building new treatment centers.
we are getting back now to our ongoing series "testing japan's english." and this time we are focusing on after-school english am practpr for children. according to government statistics, nearly 40% of married couples in japan say both husbands and wives work. so that means there's a growing need for child care when school is out. some businesses are thriving by offering kids a place to play in english. nhk world's jun yotsumoto has the story. >> reporter: it's the end of the school day for these kids. but they are not going home. >> hello. >> hello. >> hello. >> how are you today? >> i'm happy! >> reporter: this is their second home where they eat snacks and play games for a few hours during the week.
whatever they do, they have to do it in english. >> may i have some water, please? >> excellent. >> reporter: this first grader started coming here seven months ago. he had never spoken the language before. >> i'm 6 years old. >> what do you want to be when you grow up? >> i want to be a firefighter. >> reporter: now he is communicating with native speakers. he's even able to show a sense of humor. >> how are you? >> i'm sleepy. >> wake up! >> i'm awake now. thank you. loud. >> reporter: these days more and more women in japan are continuing to work after getting married and having children.
a fair number of families struggle to find public after-school day care. private businesses have jumped on the opportunity. the operators of this program opened their first facility six years ago. they now have more than 50 across japan and counting. >> translator: we use only english in our program. we think mothers especially consider it value-added care. it fits the need of the time. >> see you. >> bye! >> reporter: his mother, akiko, picks him up at 7:00 p.m. every day. she and his father both feel frustrated with their level of english. they've never studied or lived abroad. he's an engineer at a multinational electronics company. he sometimes needs to speak in
english with his colleagues and others. >> translator: sometimes i get in trouble and lose out in my business because of my poor english. so it's more than frustrating. it's an everyday problem, and i feel a sense of desperation. >> reporter: akiko said the program costs more than $700 a month, but she believes it's worth it. >> translator: it's about ten times more expensive than public after-school day care, but the costs will be even more extravagant if he tries to learn english as a grown-up. spending the same time as he's spending now. >> reporter: an increasing number of parents in japan are feeling the need to give their children the skills they lack. including an ability to communicate well in english in the globalized world. >> and yun joins us now.
yun, kids really enjoy communicating in english. as you know, i was an english teacher more than two decades ago, so i understand that people's demand for english speaking and listening abilities has been rising so much recently. but will this kind of after-school activity really give them an advantage in, as you say, a globalized world? >> right. those parents hope their children won't face the same struggles as his father. i should note, though, his father is capable of english when it comes to, you know, reading and writing. but speaking and comprehension are a challenge. so he wants his son to be fluent. that's something japanese leaders see as important. companies in this country are becoming more globalized, like it or not. the number of tourists is on the rise. so if a person speaks english, they will be better positioned to deal with, say, colleagues, bosses or tourists. now, there are pros and cons to
learning english early. some argue young children should focus on their mother tongue first, but others disagree. they can't wait for the government to reform english education by 2020. they want to get started right away. >> jun yotsumoto, thank you very much indeed. the people who operate nuclear plant in southwestern japan are moving toward a restart. the sendai nuclear power plant is the first to pass stricter government regulations introduced after the fukushima accident. now, members of the prefectural assembly are debating whether to approve putting the plant back online. the assembly convened a session to discuss resuming operations
at the plant. members will vote on the restart on friday, and then the governor will make his decision. >> translator: i believe that the nuclear regulation authority has confirmed the safety of the sendai nuclear plant. i would like you to form a view as the prefectural assembly. this will be a key factor in my decision on whether to approve a restart. >> but some residents have already made up their minds. about 50 protesters gathered in front of the prefectural government headquarters to oppose the restart. sendai city hosts the plant, which is owned by the electric power company. the mayor and the city assembly agreed to the restart last month. all commercial reactors in japan are currently offline. humanitarian aid workers are the international red cross and red crescent societies gathered recently in fukushima. they wanted to gain firsthand
advice on how people worldwide should prepare for nuclear disasters. nhk world has more. >> reporter: representatives of the international federation of red cross and the red crescent societies from 17 countries visited the town last week. >> this is the monument for the tsunami victims. >> reporter: secretary-general and his colleagues were in fukushima to learn from people who experienced the nuclear disaster. on march 11th, 2011, immediately after the tsunami, japanese red cross rescue teams rushed to fukushima. but they had to retreat once the crisis at the nuclear plant began. the teams were completely
unprepared for a nuclear accident. they had no tools to measure radiation or protective gear. members of the red cross have helped people in trouble around the world throughout its 150-year history. the unprecedented disaster at fukushima daiichi provided some important lessons. >> the lessons learned is about to prepare and to prepare better. so i think it's about being vigilant all the time, anticipating on issues not to be complacent in any possible way. >> reporter: he and other participants talk directly to the residents. they all evacuated to a city a two-hour drive away from their hometown because of the radiation.
>> i know it's tough to be displaced from your city town, but how is it living here? >> translator: i just want to go home. >> reporter: the participants learned from the survey that they need to prepare to care for evacuees. this man explained the uncertainty about the future makes people feel depressed. and he says they need medical assistance. >> translator: i don't want there to be another accident like this again anywhere. please use what you learned here to come up with countermeasures. >> reporter: he comes from bangladesh where the first nuclear plant is scheduled to begin operating in a few years.
he says the trip made him realize his country must prepare now for a possible crisis. >> we have overpopulation. it's a kind of situation within this area, it will be millions, millions of people affected, not like thousands like here. that is why actually our people, an awareness program must be something very, very bigger. >> we hope that those accidents won't happen, but in case they happen, at least our volunteers and our workers will go first on the front line, are protected so that they can better protect the communities which will be affected. >> reporter: federation officials say they'll use what they heard and saw in fukushima to draw up guidelines on preparing for nuclear disasters. they plan to finalize them in a year.
yuki hiraka, nhk world, fukushima. it's time for a look at the world weather. heavy rainfall is expected in portions of europe wednesday. our meteorologist, jonathan oh, is here to explain. jonathan. >> yes, we are keeping our eye out for a frontal system that is pushing through europe. and it's going to bring a decent amount of rainfall. and i want to point out, you notice the clouds extending from the scandinavian peninsula all the way down into the northern tip of africa. and it is a slow-moving system. can you notice that this is over a 24-hour period, and it's really over the central portion of europe. and that's just about it. it's not really moving anywhere. and because of that, i am concerned especially for areas like austria and closer toward italy, you'll be looking at an extended period of rainfall, not just for the next 24 but possibly up to 48 hours. and if this system continues to move as slowly as it does, it looks like you'll be dealing with serious rainfall issues.
we're looking at close to 200 millimeters of rainfall possible in austria over a 48-hour period. you can see here many areas, especially into northern italy, looking at up to 100 millimeters of rainfall over the next few days. while that doesn't necessarily seem like a lot, when it comes down in a short period of time during the next 48 hours, that's when we'll be dealing with possible flooding issues. so look out for that possibility. also looking out for some rain over into the northern portions of the united kingdom as we go into thursday and also into friday. here's a look at the forecast. again, rain for paris extending down into rome as we go throughout wednesday. meanwhile back toward the east, high pressure continues to dominate the forecast. it is pushing off toward the east as well. but that southerly flow is keeping temperatures above normal for this time of year. here's a look at the forecast now for east asia. we are keeping an eye on typhoon nuri. this system is continuing to weaken. you can also notice that the scale of the storm has now become a lot smaller. and so it is continuing to become less and less of a threat for the central portions of
japan. the islands, you will still be dealing with the rough surf, especially for your area. close to nine meters of waves heights when we go throughout the next day. and then the system will continue to push north and east. by the time we get to friday, we are talking about a system that's probably going to become just a tropical low, not creating any threat by the time we get to the weekend. again, we are looking at the possibility of up to nine-meter-wave heights in the islands. closer toward the southern tip of central japan, we'll be looking at two to three-meter heights. look out for that rough surf. again with the rainfall, we're not looking at a lot in terms of central japan. we may see a few sprinkles and showers here or there in tokyo coming up on thursday. but most of the rain will stay down offshore and moving off toward the north and east. meanwhile, we are seeing high pressure controlling the weather for the eastern portions of china. and that will start moving in. so by the time we get to the weekend, we're going to expect sunny skies not only for the korean peninsula but also into japan. so much better conditions
compared to the cloudy conditions experienced on wednesday. so for thursday, rain in tokyo. a high of 21 with chance for some sprinkles associated with nuri. 18 in seoul with partly cloudy skies. beijing, a little chilly. sunny with a high of 12 degrees on thursday. wrapping things up with a look at north america. we do have this massive low north of ontario. and that's swinging down all of this cold air. because of that, this cold front moving through the ohio river valley bringing the possibility of rainfall all the way down to texas along with tropical depression bands. that is creating a little bit of enhanced effect with the front. so expecting a decent amount of rain into places like houston as we go throughout our wednesday. a high of 21 degrees. very warm for los angeles. your high, 31 with some breezy conditions. wet toward the pacific northwest. highs in the low teens. hope you have a good day wherever you are. here's your extended outlook.
>> here are the headlines -- more violence in east jerusalem as a van rams into pedestrians causing several casualties. is really police shoot at the driver of what they called the deliberate attack. in the u.s., the republicans have tightened their grip on the house and take the senate. midtermy suites the elections as expected with victories from coast to coast. itsfrance has just named top literary award in the annual fall book season and the winner alvayre for her novel on a spanish civil war.